How To Eat Healthy When You Are Dealing With Stress
We often hear about meditation, journaling, and exercising as ways to reduce your stress, but healthy eating is one of the most effective stress relievers that is often overlooked. Eating the right food can definitely provide numerous health benefits and helps you manage your stress levels.
It is quite understandable to be stressed sometimes (I guess we can call that human nature), but stress must be kept under control. Being stressed can be healthy at times, but at certain level it can become unhealthy.
Unhealthy stress weakens your immune system, making it easier for you to catch colds and other viral illnesses and making it harder for you to recover. The rush of hormones that your body experiences under stress leads to heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers. Over time, stress can also lead to more serious health issues.
When you feel yourself becoming anxious, irritable, or tense, it is more important than ever to turn to healthy food alternatives. Consider these options when your stress makes you crave unhealthy foods:
- Ask yourself why you want to eat. If it’s because you had a bad day or particular stress, look for a different way to redirect your attention and emotions.
- Prepare your meals ahead of time. Meal prep may seem difficult, especially with a busy lifestyle, but it is a great way to save time and reduce stress over the course of the week.
- If you don’t have time to prepare your meals, choose a meal delivery service like Freshly or Blue Apron to help you save time preparing your healthy food choices.
- Keep a food journal to track what you eat and how you feel. This will help you recognize patterns of how healthy foods positively impact your mood and stress levels. It will also help you identify your stress eating triggers so you can manage them more closely.
- Pause before you eat. When you crave unhealthy food due to stress, you should put off eating for 15 minutes. This pause will give you an opportunity to think about your food choices or find a different way to get your mind off your stressors.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand. For example, take nuts and fruit to work with you instead of going to the vending machine when you feel stressed.
- Always have a filled reusable water bottle on hand and make sure to drink enough water every day. As cliché as this may seem, water is vital to good health and drinking a lot of it can certainly help you in your quest for manage your stress levels.
Keep in mind that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is really the key to keeping your stress under control. Make sure that your daily routine includes time for physical activities, a few minutes to relax and recharge your batteries, and a full 8 hours of sleep. These stress relievers can help you through difficult times and make it easier for you to stay on track with your healthy eating habits.